Your Diet and Productivity

In the globalised and hyper-connected world of today, we can eat almost any kind of food or fresh produce available, regardless of the season. With such a variety of food and superfoods available, it’s never been easier to eat well. However, instead of being truly conscious about our diet and productivity, we often just grab a quick bite to keep us going. Whilst convenient, this isn’t always the best choice for fueling our brains and bodies throughout the day. Read on to find out what to eat to be at your most productive… 1. Eat to Enhance Your Brain Function While grabbing a quick take-away can fill the gap and keep you going, processed and refined foods have been shown to have a detrimental effect on our brains. According to an infographic put together by Hubspot, sugary foods such as soft drinks and sweets can cause a rush of glucose to the blood stream and a subsequent sugar crash, which can leave you feeling lethargic and slow. However, foods such as avocados are a better choice as they contain mono-unsaturated fats, which reportedly increase blood flow in the body, and thereby the brain. These kinds of healthy fats are also found in olive oil, and have been shown to slow the aging process, which is all good news when it comes to remembering those important tasks to check off your to-do list. 2. Eat to Stay Alert Burgers, fries and processed pastries might be the most conveniently available food choices in and around the office, but aren’t necessarily a good choice for staying alert throughout the day. Snacking on... read more

Top 5: Productivity Apps

With a smartphone and an internet connection, it’s never been easier to find an app to make your life easier or more entertaining. While the world of online gaming has captured the time and imaginations of millions, apps that manage your time and productivity are becoming very popular. These apps range from interfaces that can create and check off to-do lists to ones that help to manage your day by allowing you to program alerts and other reminders into your schedule. While it might take willpower and discipline to make these apps truly helpful in real life, in an effort to stay on top of all of the latest developments, here are five of the most popular productivity apps in the world right now according to ratings: 1. Wunderlist One of the most famous to-do list apps in the world, Wunderlist provides users with a way to not only create lists of things to see, do or visit, but also allows you to share these with others and sync them across your devices. One of Wunderlist’s key features is that you can also collaborate with others on your lists and delegate to-do list items, which makes it a fully integrative experience and not just a way to manage individual tasks. 2. Swipes Voted as one of the world’s top 5 productivity apps, Swipes helps users to collect all of their tasks in one place, and organise them according to priorities. What separates Swipes from other productivity apps where you can list all of your to-do list items is that Swipes gets you to work on a single task at... read more

Lunch Break Workout: Yes or No?

We all know that exercise is important for our health and wellbeing, yet what are the pros and cons of the lunchtime workout tribe? 1. Why You Should be Exercising During Your Lunch Break Everyone has different times of the day when they feel that they are the most productive. For some people, they find that waking up and tackling a big task first thing is what gets them going and helps them to stay motivated throughout the day. For others, late afternoon or early evening might be their most productive time. Evan Williams, the founder of Twitter, Blogger and Medium, recommends working out during your lunch hour. Williams chooses to focus on important tasks instead and then exercise during the middle of the day. If you’re a highly productive person in the mornings it could be good to blast through your to-do list and end your most productive time zone with a rip roaring lunch break workout utilising the afternoon hours to catch up on lower priority emails and other tasks. However, he does add that this is made easier by the fact that he works opposite a gym, so it’s important to make sure whatever exercise you choose is easily accessible and doesn’t require travel time that could potentially disrupt your day by extending your lunch hour for too long. 2. Why You Should Save Your Exercise for Later in the Day While a lunch break workout can boost your productivity, could a midday workout also leave you tired and unable to carry out the rest of the tasks for your day? According to an article in... read more

5 Signs of A Truly Collaborative Team

Collaboration is a term that is often used in discussions about productivity and work environments, and can be an umbrella term for a number of ways of working in a team. In general, collaboration implies an innovative way of achieving results or reaching goals, but how do you know if your team is truly collaborating? 1. Your Team Has Strong Leadership In order to have a collaborative team, you need to have people within that team who can direct all members’ and motivate them to perform at their best. As discussed in an article on Forbes, leaders are accountable for getting people together, understanding their differences and connecting these for optimum results. Leaders also play an important role in fostering commitment from team members, and are the people with the courage and drive to pursue opportunities. 2. Your Team Values Relationships Even with the incredible digital technology available to facilitate various kinds of interaction, collaborative teams value face-to-face time and building a personal relationship with people. We all know that we can’t do it alone, but with all the tools available in our highly connected world, it can be tempting to believe that it might be possible. A truly collaborative team knows how to use these tools to complement the relationship building that will best support innovation and growth. 3. Your Team Has Their Finger on the Pulse A truly collaborative team knows their industry, and keeps up to date with everything that affects their business and the way they conduct it. With so many skills available, a collaborative team also makes the best of a variety of skills... read more

5 Tips to Staying Focused in the Mornings

Mornings can either be our most productive times, or our most frustrating. Getting out of bed and to work on time forces us to make a number of decisions that can use up valuable time and energy if we don’t plan properly. While some people might be more naturally inclined to be alert first thing in the morning, some of us might need a little bit more help when it comes to being as efficient as possible after our alarm clock goes off. If you’re one of the latter type of people, have no fear, here are five tips to staying focused in the mornings: 1. Reduce Decision Fatigue As one of the most in-demand people in the world, Barack Obama has often been quizzed about his efficient routine. Apart from limiting decision making by only wearing grey or blue suits, one of his key focuses is having time to himself at night after his family has gone to bed. In this way, Obama has time to get a head start on his day by giving himself time to prepare lists of what priorities need to be addressed. In an article for the Financial Times, the concept of decision fatigue is noted as one of the main reasons why it is so easy to lose focus in the mornings. This is because we end up making a number of trivial decisions in the morning when our cognitive functioning is at its best, instead of conserving that energy for more complex and creative tasks. 2. Train Your Brain While being a morning person or not might have a lot to... read more

6 Ways to Fight Your Fear of Public Speaking

Standing up and speaking in front of a group of people can be a daunting task for many of us. The fear of saying something wrong, or having our message fall on an unreceptive audience are anxieties we all experience at some point. Some people seem to be naturally gifted when it comes to communicating to a crowd, but the truth is that it often takes a lot of practice and preparation. Here are six tips to keep in mind when preparing to speak up: 1. Speak from Your Diaphragm If you’re ever done an acting class you’ll know that there are many exercises that are done to practice projecting your voice. By just being aware of speaking from your diaphragm and breathing from your belly you can project your voice more clearly and confidently. 2. Don’t Underestimate Your Ideas Have you ever been afraid to share your opinion because you can’t be sure of the outcome, only to have the person next to you in a meeting say exactly what you wanted to with a positive response? Although there might be a difference in preparation between a meeting and a big speech, just practicing speaking up in informal environments is confidence building in preparation for larger audiences. 3. Accentuate Your Strengths If you’re more of an introvert, public speaking in front of a big audience can be terrifying. However, the truth is that you can develop an on-stage persona and work to your strengths to make up for the fact that you might not always be comfortable with the idea of speaking in front of hundreds of people.... read more

Stand-Up Desks: Forever or Fad?

Our modern lifestyles seem to have us constantly sitting down. From driving in a car, taking public transport, or the hours spent working at a desk, it feels like we spend so much time seated. Our lives have just adapted to being stationary and our environments have responded in the same way. But what if there was an alternative, and we could still work behind a desk, even without a chair? We’ve all heard about stand-up desks, but how many people actually use them, and how do they actually work? 1. Why Stand-Up Desks are Here to Stay According to various sources, sitting has been dubbed “the new smoking”, and working while seated behind a desk all day has even been linked to an increased incidence of disease, weight grain and high cholesterol. According to a study by a group of Canadian researchers for the Journal of Preventative Medicine, working while standing up has both physiological and psychological benefits, including weight loss, improvement in mood, work performance and cognitive functioning. With all this evidence available, the conclusion is that sitting behind a desk all day is bad for your health, although we all know how uncomfortable it feels to get up after a productive stint in a less than comfortable chair. Avid users of stand-up desks, like Mike Smith from Boxhead Media in the United Kingdom, have converted to working while standing up “…because it helps keep procrastination at bay.” Smith also adds, “[When] I’m standing… my body is upright and alert, I’m not going to fall asleep as I used to in my big comfy office chair and... read more

Managing Tasks: List Your Way to Greatness

We’ve been taught to make lists for everything. A list of friends you want to invite to your birthday bash, a list of goals to accomplish in your lifetime or even just a grocery list. While many of us are conditioned to write these kinds of lists (even if we don’t always check off all of the tasks), how many of us never make lists, ever? It might seem hard to believe that this happens in a world so driven by profits, pressure and productivity, but some people have just found other ways to manage their tasks without the need for any kind of list. If you’re one of these people who have managed to find a way of doing so, perhaps through having a good memory or a wonderful support network. But what if you’ve been struggling lately to manage everything, and would finally like to learn how to become a list person? Here’s four ways from us to get started: 1. Focus on a Limited Number of Tasks One approach to make sure you focus on what is important is to list three things that you need to do on a given day, and focus only on those, instead of trying to cram as many tasks into one day as possible. If you’re headstrong and eager to try out a more radical approach, you can test out Warren Buffett’s ‘two-list system’. 2. Be Realistic About Timeframes One of the problems with lists is that we often don’t take into account how long it will take to complete a task. Whilst we might be inspired by the thought... read more

The Science of Sleep and Productivity

Sleep gives our physical body a chance to repair itself and regenerates the mind, but how much sleep is actually necessary? We all know how important a good night’s rest is, and how staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish some work can be detrimental to your productivity levels the next day, and even the day afterwards. However, while some people can function perfectly well on only four hours of sleep a night, others struggle to get out of bed in the mornings after a full eight hours and make it to work on time. While most of us have the same desire to be productive and work hard, what is the ideal amount of sleep that differentiates between a good or bad day? In an effort to find out about some of the current research into sleep and how it affects productivity, here are three ways that the science of sleep has been applied in corporate environments: 1. Sleeping on the Job? If you’ve ever felt your head lolling on the verge of sleep in the afternoons at work, you’ve more than likely considered how wonderful it would be to take a nap in the office. Well, the  Metronaps website is definitely on your side; their research suggests that taking a nap can improve cognitive functioning and alertness, and that lack of sleep actually affects a country’s economy due to decreased productivity. If you work at Google, this concept is a reality. Google employees can rest their eyes in specially designed sleep pods. Other benefits of taking a nap on the job include enhanced self-confidence, performance and memory processing. Other companies such... read more

Desk Organisation: Clear or Cluttered?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” While this quote has been used many times to illustrate the way in which some kind of chaos fuels creativity, what is the truth behind desk organisation? For those with more obsessive tendencies, a neat desk may be paramount to being able to achieve anything during the day, with all stationery located in the correct place and accessible at any given time. Some more creative and rebellious minds might thrive on the chaos of seemingly random notes; too busy fleshing out a creative concept that has just struck them unexpectedly to pay much attention to strict organization. While these previous stereotypes might only represent a small minority of people and the way in which they manage their work environment, what is the truth behind a messy or perfectly clear desk? 1. A Messy Desk is a Sign of Creativity According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, participants behaved differently when requested to do tasks in both messy and clean work environments. In clean, more organised environments, participants showed more conformity, whereas greater creativity was shown during tasks conducted in a messier environment. This is attributed to the fact that in a clean, organised environment, we are encouraged to behave in a more conventional manner. However, in the opposite kind of environment we are shown to exhibit more divergent thinking, which can lead to greater creativity. This study has also led to an investigation into the influence of our environment... read more